The Blue Jackets used a waiver claim on January 28th to add to their center depth; scooping up Lane Pederson from the Vancouver Canucks. Pederson would join the Jackets a couple of weeks later and ended up skating in 16 games for the club.
To say that Pederson is a journeyman, would be an understatement to say the least. In the past three seasons, he’s played games with four different NHL teams – as well as four different AHL teams. But this isn’t really new to him; he bounced around and played for three different WHL teams in his junior career as well.
Originally a 5th round pick by the Seattle Thunderbirds at the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft, his production in junior was solid, playing199 career games and scoring 53 goals and 140 points with the T-Birds, Red Deer Rebels, and Swift Current Broncos. He went on to play three seasons with Tuscon in the AHL after signing a deal with the Arizona Coyotes, who ultimately let his rights lapse.
He then signed a 2-year contract for just above league minimum with the San Jose Sharks in 2021, which makes him a UFA after this season. A couple of waiver wire pickups later and he found some NHL time in a somewhat limited role with the Jackets, though scoring 2 goals, 1 assist and adding 11 penalty minutes in his 16 games here.
It’s unlikely that the Blue Jackets will bring Pederson back beyond this season – even with their current lack of depth down the middle – but, that isn’t to say that his time here was a complete waste. He joins a handful of other players like Gavin Bayreuther, Michael Hutchinson, and Jon Gillies; who will likely use their opportunity here to try to springboard themselves into contracts elsewhere.
Whether that’s going to be another shot at the NHL or not, will have to wait and be seen. But I thought Pederson added a nice touch of skill to the bottom-six group for the Blue Jackets. Certainly, he wasn’t perfect, but as a replacement-level player in a tough situation, I thought he did a good job of keeping pace and I never felt like he was completely out of place.
Final season stats: 16 games played, 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points, 11 PIMs, -4, 12 shots on goal. Overall grade: C
Lane is another example of a guy who was given an opportunity to play here because of the injury situation the Blue Jackets were dealing with. You hope that guys like this, who have taken the tough path to the NHL, will be able to find a home for themselves in this situation; but I don’t think that’s the case here. He didn’t do enough to separate himself from the pack – even on a crippled young team – so I would be surprised to see him back this fall. Best wishes on your future endeavors, Lane!